Thursday, May 14, 2009

Room Mom's Last Gasp

Every time I think I am so ready to be done with room momming and with my co-room mom's moodiness, she says something to me that makes me like her again. Yesterday I went up to the school to see the kids do a little play (which I must say was cute even though it was terrible, terrible theatre) and I sat down next to Jan. She said, "I haven't been able to call you back because I dropped my phone in the dog's water bowl for the second time." And I felt my heart open up and incline towards her, like a tulip towards a sunny window. She just makes me laugh sometimes.

And then sometimes she has me wincing on her behalf. We had a meeting later in the afternoon, at her house, to finalize details for the class end-of-the-year party, which, like thousands or even millions of similar parties across the country in the next two weeks, will be luau-themed. Why innovate? Kids love: 1) fruit kabobs; 2) the limbo; 3) wearing crazy hats. Hopefully they also love coconut bowling. More about that in a moment.

So Jan is showing me the decorations she's gotten, and she also had a ton of baseball-themed stuff, trophies, etc. She told me that she's the team mom for her daughter's baseball team, and that the coach had asked her to get all the trophies and that he would reimburse her, so she went and spent a couple hundred dollars on that stuff, and told him how much it was, and he never got back to her. She said, "I mean, I am so in debt and I spent hundreds of dollars on this!" And I was like, you need to get the money from him, you need to "remind" him, etc. But she kept saying, "I just can't ask him again," and "I'm not good with confrontation," and "I'll just let it go." It was making me feel terrible. Seriously, girl, could we get some assertiveness training over here?

She was in charge of getting decorations for the luau, and she went WAY overboard, and wound up spending a lot of her own money, 'cause our class money is pretty much exhausted by this point. Apparently there was a sale at Party City, and she bought a big cabana-type table thing, and huge palm trees, and a tiki-mask bubble machine, and I think the mummified corpse of Don Ho, may he rest in peace. And of course leis, and coconut cups, and grass skirts, and puka shell necklaces for party favors.

Her idea was, after the party, to box all this up and give it to the teacher as part of the class gift. Every year Ms. S has a luau party, and every year the class buys decorations, so Jan thought it would be a nice thing to bequeath. Fine. So I kept saying, "If this is the class gift, did you spend class money on it?" And she never gave me a straight answer, and after the baseball coach story I felt like now I was a party to taking advantage of her. But the woman needs boundaries and quick.

One more party and then I'm hanging up my room mom hat. I am sure everything will go smoothly and the kids will enjoy themselves. Hopefully there will be no repeat of the "This toy is too girly" fiasco of Xmas '08. If anyone steps out of line, I am prepared to knock her on the coconut.

Are y'all doing this end-of-the-year party business, and how many of your kids' classes are having luaus? It's a luaupalooza!

18 comments:

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Good grief! Does she have a kick-me sign on her back? She needs to corner that coach fast. As for all the Hawaiian paraphernalia being given to the teach as a class gift . . . hmm. But what can you say to someone like Jan?

Kelly said...

We did a luau last year that was really cute with fruit kebabs and make your own leis.

This year my class has only raised $10 for our party...not expecting a big blow out this time around!!

FYI- my word verification is "depressed" hahahahaha

Jane said...

Poor Jan. I feel for her re: the coach situation... because, in my heart of hearts, I am Jan. I, too, hate confrontation. I have had to train myself up over many long years in order to not be a total doormat.

Casey said...

Oh man, I'm volunteering to be the entire school's pta of sorts next year since the school is so small and has never had one before. Your co-room mom sounds like me, I'm always buying shit for my kid's school and never asking for money in return. I seriously just offered to by $160 worth of sun shades for the playground so Graham isn't PURPLE when I pick him up every day. I think I'm in trouble next year.

Bren said...

Oh, dear lord, how I love living in a college town. Many of the moms and dads are poor grad students, so class parties are just apple-juice-and-vegan-cupcakes affairs.

Ginny Marie said...

I can easily say we never had such an elaborate end of the year party when I taught! We had field day, or a picnic, and spent the entire day outside. No decorations needed!

Becky said...

Oh Ginny, rest assured we had a field day. It too required an airlift of snacks and bottled water. I entirely skipped out on helping with field day because siblings weren't allowed. Also I heard there was a dunking booth.

This is just turning into a bigger deal than I thought necessary. Jan is like a law unto herself.

Bex said...

i love how your posts are cross-referenced to older posts. you crack me up!

i'm not at the room mom stage yet, but when i get there, rest assured, i lack manners and etiquette so i'll probably just say what i'm feeling like, "if you don't have money for all this crap, take it back bc there's not enough in the class fund to reimburse you and no one asked you to be the class party martyr."

Michele Renee said...

No end of the year party is allowed over here. They have two a year: winter break and day before spring break. Your planned party sounds like a great time. I think Jan would've done better stretching the dollar via Oriental trader site. I'm going to miss the Jan stories. Please find a reason to invite her over to your house or something. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed your kids get in the same room next year!
One year some moms did a luau for a 5th grade class (my child was not in the class but told me the deets): they brought in a huge tarp and bags full of playground sand, and lounge chairs. They had a smoothie machine, and the luau music going.

Drama Queen Jenner said...

I'd totally but out Oriental Trading's stock. Hope I don't turn out to be a 'Jan'.

Keely said...

lol, poor woman. She needs help.

I remember the 'end of year party' consisting of popcorn and a VCR movie for the afternoon. They're really taking it up a notch.

The Dental Maven said...

What is with people? "Hundreds of dollars" and she "can't ask him again?" Oh for the love of Pete!!

Wendy said...

It's hard to watch women (or men for that matter) who are not assertive. I'm a "fixer" so it makes me just want to jump in and take over. Frustrating. I wish people would stand up for themselves.

Sara said...

Gee, I wonder why she's in so much debt?
I understand the temptation but ya gotta rein that in sometimes!

The VCR (or projector) movies and popcorn were pretty cool I thought. Maybe class parties could start down-sizing in the name of going retro.

A Day That is Dessert said...

I am SO in the thick of end of the year 'class coordinator' (that's what we're called in the north) duties... planning a class gift for a teacher I don't love - a very thoughtful, labor intensive photo book. And a party. My co-class coordinator is a grad student and has three kids, and basically just ignores my emails.

Becky said...

Ugh, Lecia, I feel for you. And the photo book! Those are a lot of work. I'm guessing you're getting parents to email pics they took during the year, then you're going to collate the pictures and lay out the book, and THEN have it printed, etc. Aaargh. . .

And that's exactly what I should have said to her, Bex! She is kind of a martyr. I've seen glimpses of it before. I just don't have that streak in my personality, and when I encounter it, I'm just confused and frustrated, "Like, WHY are you doing this?" Oh well, one week to go.

Another funny Jan moment--I was taking a few pictures at the class play with my iPhone. Jan saw and said, "Wow, your camera phone has a huge screen!" I said, "It's an iPhone, you know, iPhones?" I showed her the home screen. She had never heard of such.

Amy said...

I find Jan somewhat endearing. To me, she is one of the more sympathetic characters of your blog. The craziness is that she's real!!

I too will miss her when school's out. And Wendy, I'm a fixer too--I have to be resisting the urge to say, "Well do you want me to talk to the coach for you?" Jan needs some assertiveness training!

Juliet Grossman said...

I'm room mom for the second year in a row. Yup, getting along with the "co" can be a big deal. Last year's was super easygoing (had two older daughters and she was co-room mom with me when her son and my daughter were in kindergarten) but this year's is much more intense and....moody. That horrible M word.

(I really hope if I'm moody like that, people tell me. Maybe they're all saying I'm moody too.)

She also gets really indecisive. It's like a quick decision can never be good. It's only a good decision if you spend hours & hours meeting and turning it around in your mind. I feel like we could cut to the chase and solve 99% of what we need to do by email or phone.

By the way we did fruit kebabs last year and the kids kept stabbing themselves in the mouth. It's like, are these kids not very bright? C'mon, *sharp*!

Oh, and to add to my problem with co-room mom this year, the teacher is super moody too. Fun times.

I'm not room momming again at elementary next year, but I have another fun adventure ahead of me doing co-op preschool for my younger daughter. Talk about indecisive, moody, and lots of meetings....